Entries Tagged 'County Commission' ↓

Copper Lounge Collapse, lots of questions little answers

Here are some leading questions after the collapse;

• Will Downtown businesses be reimbursed for lost business by the construction company’s insurance? Most of these businesses are family owned, they don’t have a lot of buffer like national franchises especially during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

• Will the city be reimbursed for the enormous cost of the rescue and security efforts? While most would argue this is part of paying taxes, sometimes those costs go above and beyond.

• If the city was aware of construction issues with Hultgren, why wasn’t the Lewis project monitored more carefully, especially after complaints?

• What is the signifigance of the meeting on Monday between the city, OSHA, Hultgren and the families affected? Will they be talking about a private settlement?

• Since Legacy Development was one of the companies to bid on the future parking ramp, were they chosen? And if so, will the city pull the contract? Will the public ever be told? Do we have a right to know?

Who are the private investors in Legacy Development?

One of the biggest questions that has been boiling to the top all week – did any of the city councilors, county commissioners or even the Mayor have investments with Legacy, Hultgren or with the PAVE or Lewis project? And if so, isn’t this a conflict of interest, especially since the construction company has gotten quite a few ‘passes’ from the city’s planning/building services office? This speculation comes from the city’s decision to launch NO investigation of their own and a desire to not press charges unless OSHA finds serious fault. Think about it, Cameraman Bruce was arrested and taken to court over a stack of shingles and the possibility of a couple of mice, something the city called a health/public nuisance. Doesn’t it seem silly the city is worried about a couple of mice, but not that a man died in a construction accident? It just doesn’t add up.

I will tell you folks, this goes deeper, and I think some people with some serious connections are involved. Notice the rancor coming from the city lately about the media stirring the pot, they are trying to squelch the message and kill the messenger.

It will be interesting to see who is holding the bag when the smoke clears . . . it may just be one of the biggest scandals this city has ever seen, it will make the secret million dollar settlement on the EC look like vandalism under the 10th Street bridge.

Should the Minnehaha County Commission Meetings be held at Night?

I know I have been told a reason why the meetings are held in the morning, but I can’t recall why, and quite honestly, don’t care.

I have often thought that government should be accessible to all, not just government folks and their convenience. A more transparent government would do the public’s work when a majority of the public can show up. 9:30 on a Tuesday morning is a poor time to conduct a public meeting. I do understand the conflict with the city council meetings, but I do think they could hold their public meeting at night on a Monday and I wouldn’t even be opposed to 5:30 PM. I do watch the meetings online after they are recorded, but that usually takes 2-3 days before they are put online (still puzzled why it takes between 24-72 hours to rasterize a video for YouTube?)

I hope the county commission would consider a change.

UPDATE: The Wind Haters will make their case Tuesday Night at the Lincoln County Commission

UPDATE: After sitting through 2 hours of testimony from the Wind Haters and Reality Lovers the Lincoln County Commission decides to compromise the setback of 1 mile to 3/4 mile (5280 to 3960 feet). Commission Chair Mike Poppens was the only commissioner to vote against both the original motion and the compromise. His argument was fantastic, paraphrasing, “No one has shown me evidence that wind towers would be any less harmful with a 1200 foot setback (current ordinance) then with a 5,280 setback . . . (besides) that is not the conversation, the 5280 foot setback basically eliminates wind towers in Lincoln county, if we want to have that conversation, let’s have it, because that is all this setback would accomplish.”

But before the compromise, it appeared it was going to fail due to a tie on the commission (Gillespie had to excuse himself because he or his family is investing in the project) 2-2. If it would have failed, it would have stayed at 1,200 feet. But Jim Schmidt threw a hissy-fit that they had to pass something last night, and got Dan King to go along with the compromise, and while they were voting, you could see Schmidt winking to some of the wind haters sitting in the crowd.

What a sh*tshow.

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Cameraman Bruce hopes to film the meeting that starts at 7 PM in Canton;

LINCOLN COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS Lincoln County Commission Meeting Room 104 N. Main, Canton, SD 57013

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 7 PM

Public Hearing 1. An ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, amending the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County by amending Article 6, C Commercial District, Section 6.03, Permitted Special Uses. Section 1. That Section 6.03(A) of the 2009 Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County, SD, is hereby amended. 2. An ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, amending the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County by amending Article 12, Additional Use Regulations, Section 12.02, Wind Energy Conversion Systems. Section 1. That 12.02(C) (not including 1- 10), of the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County, SD, is hereby amended. 3. An ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, amending the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County by amending Article 12, Additional Use Regulations, Section 12.02, Wind Energy Conversion Systems. Section 1. That Section 12.02(C)(2), of the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County, SD, is hereby amended. 4. An ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, amending the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County by amending Article 12, Additional Use Regulations, Section 12.02, Wind Energy Conversion Systems. Section 1. That Section 12.02(C)(4), of the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County, SD, is hereby amended. 5. An ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, amending the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance for Lincoln County by amending article 12, Additional Use Regulations, Section 12.02, Wind Energy Conversion Systems. Section 1. That Section 12.02(C), of the 2009 Revised Zoning Ordinance of Lincoln County, SD, is hereby amended by adding a subsection to be numbered 11.

Will the Lincoln County Commission use common sense?

lincoln-wind

As you can see, the Lincoln County Commission will be either approving or denying wind energy zoning guidelines on November 22.

Some of the ridiculous changes pushed by the wind haters (which are really global warming deniers) include;

5,280 feet set back (Yeah kids, that is 1 mile, which pretty much eliminates them being placed anywhere in Lincoln County). Let me put this in perspective, you know the little lawsuit in McKennan Park over setbacks? That is about four feet.

They also want to change the decibel level to 35 during the day and 30 at night. On a comparison chart, that is compared to a whisper in a quiet library at 6′. But could you hear anything if it was a mile away from your property?

They also want an analysis done on ‘flickering’. What is that? By all accounts I think it is something the ‘wind haters’ created in their minds from watching to many Orson Wells movies.

While most of these regulations look like something you would find in a comic book, our Lincoln County Commission is actually considering these ridiculous measures. I hope to attend the meeting to personally listen to the crazies explain the dangers of ‘wind’.

Now Citylink is screwing up Minnehaha County’s meetings

minn-meet

I reported a few months ago that the county spent around $40K for new video equipment (at the advice of the city’s media department, that record the meetings) and one of the meetings had no audio. So now Tuesday, the meeting is totally defunct. According to a county official there was a problem with a camera that resulted in malfunctioning the other cameras, but they thought the audio was fine. I guess that is defunct also now.

I find it ironic that the meeting that had ‘technical problems’ was the one where the commission approved the contract with Fitch to do consulting for ambulance service and the President of Med-Star came to testify against it.

Where is that audio . . . maybe REMSA filed it with Paramedics Plus call performance reports.

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth asks for an explanation from REMSA

2009 Ford E-Series Super Duty Ambulance Prep Package.  (03/03/09)

Recently Jeff told me that the secretive nature of REMSA and there ‘experiment’ with Paramedics Plus is one of the top transparency issues in our community right now. I would agree. He expressed that concern at Tuesday’s county meeting (FF: 1:06). He asked REMSA to come and explain to the commission what the plan is. Chair Heiberger felt it wasn’t the county’s concern, Barth disagreed. Cindy also went on to say that their are rumors being spread, Barth responded that is why they need to come and explain what is going on.

Jay Masur of Med Star also spoke at public input at the city council meeting essentially asking for the same thing.

I agree, the lack of transparency is troubling on this issue. This isn’t about bent up siding or stalling tactics of a petition drive, this has to do with people’s health and lives, the public deserves to know. As Masur also pointed out, many members of REMSA are paid by the county and city tax payers including Doctor Luther who hides more then works, and city health director Jill Franken, who hasn’t given a straight answer since we chose Paramedics plus.

It’s time the county commission and the city council demands answers, even if it is in executive session. Our elected officials, if not the public, deserves to know what this ‘complicated’ plan is.

Re-Elect Pam Nelson for Minnehaha County Treasurer

Does Dean Karsky’s position on the Sioux Falls Chamber Board disqualify him to be a Minnehaha County Commissioner?

 karsky-and-hutch-goats

I could give you a long list of reasons not vote for Dean Karsky, mainly he accomplished nothing on the city council except using a rubberstamp. And when he did have an idea of his own, it would get shot down, like his malt beverage ban idea.

When Dean joined the Chamber’s Board, the city’s ethics commission ok’d the appointment. No surprise, we know who appoints them. While I certainly didn’t defend the decision, I will say that being a Sioux Falls city councilor and a Sioux Falls Chamber board member at least has somewhat of a correlation. But how will other communities and chamber boards in Minnehaha County feel about Karsky sitting on the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Board? I would think that would certainly be a conflict of interest.

Why don’t we save us all the headache of finding out and not vote for him. Vote Bender, Feinstein or Bonilla. As I have been telling people ‘Anybody but Karsky’ we have enough salespeople in local government already, we need to start purging them.

 

Rex Rolfing needs to learn how to run a meeting from Minnehaha County Commissioner Cindy Heiberger

cindy_heiberger

The less ‘Freaky’ meeting chair

I will be the first to say I don’t always agree with decisions commissioner Heiberger makes, and sometimes she isn’t real big on transparency, BUT what I can see, as chair of the commission, she runs a tight ship when it comes to meetings.

If you ever watch the meetings, as I do, one thing that often stands out is that Cindy runs the meetings with a high level of decorum and professionalism. She is often polite, respectful and thankful of input, whether that comes from her peers, directors or the public. In fact she often disagrees and weighs in just as much as her peers.

Besides the fact that Cindy runs a smooth ship, most of the time, it is not an easy feat, there is a Hell of a lot more ruckus that goes on at these meetings then the city council meetings. Many of the commissioners ask tough questions of their directors and staff, and if those answers are not kosher, they let them have it. Barth and Kelly are the most vocal, but Beninga, Bender and Heiberger have also chimed in when they think they are being buffaloed by staff or the public.

Cindy lets them rant, she also thanks them when they are done, even if she doesn’t agree. That’s called ‘decorum’ folks. Cindy understands that in government not everything is a rubber stamp and a bed of roses, there has to be uncomfortable discussion, there has to be debate and sometimes that is ruffling feathers. She allows it at her meetings, because I believe she knows it is important. I have been watching the meetings regularly over the past two years, while Cindy has raised her voice a few times and has asked people to calm down, she has NEVER gaveled her fellow peers and freaked out like a monkey banging a drum, and trust me I have seen over 20 rants between Barth and Kelly over the past couple of years that were way more uncomfortable and controversial then a prepared statement by Stehly. But guess what, they haven’t had ethics violations lobbed at them, because they have a right as elected officials to have these rants, we expect it from them.

As I have said, if Rolfing would have just let Stehly speak, it would have all been over in a few minutes, with practically no drama. Maybe Rex could mentor Cindy for a few meetings and learn something about representative government and how to run a meeting.

Speaking of ignorant votes, the Minnehaha County Commission delivers

Seems the Minnehaha County Commission is taking some moves from Councilor Erpenbach, bitching and complaining about an agenda item that is not working, costing us to much or both, then voting for it anyway. While they all admitted that Dr. Luther isn’t really doing anything for the $30K a year he has received over the past decade, they let him have it again;

All five members of the County Commission raised or acknowledge questions about Luther’s responsibilities at a 2017 budget hearing Wednesday, but Barth was the only member who voted to eliminate the position.

The commission moved instead to extend Luther’s contract one more year as the county pursues a broader study of how rural ambulance services are assigned and regulated.

And let’s talk about duplicity, the city pays over $100K a year for the same service. Why are the taxpayers paying for a service that a private ambulance company is making a profit from? Shouldn’t they be paying fees that supplement his inspection and quality assurance?

Either way, this further proves why we have such a fiasco with our city provided ambulance, why does the city continue to fund this joke of quality assurance;

“It’s our fault we didn’t get more of that money,” Barth said. “It’s our fault we didn’t demand more, it’s our fault that we continue to pay him for this fruitless endeavor.”

And the ignorance continues.